Google is trying to woo the newspaper industry with a proposal that includes paid for content and a way to increase revenues. The Google proposal is being made to the Newspaper Association of America and addresses not only free but also paid content. Google proposal also includes a way that Google would host the content and collect revenue through their Google Checkout.
The proposal states the following information:
The Newspaper Association of America’s Request for Information “seeks to gather information about the products and services available from qualified providers with expertise in helping local online publishers additionally monetize digital content, either through transactions (pay for content) and/or through collection of user data for enhanced advertising targeting or other ‘access to content programs.” This document identifies Google’s capabilities in these areas, highlights our planned and existing tools, lays out our vision for what this ecosystem might look like, and hopefully opens the door to more detailed discussions with the NAA and individual publishers.
Google believes that an open web benefits all users and publishers. However, “open” need not mean free. We believe that content on the Internet can thrive supported by multiple business models — including content available only via subscription. While we believe that advertising will likely remain the main source of revenue for most news content, a paid model can serve as an important source of additional revenue. In addition, a successful paid content model can enhance advertising opportunities, rather than replace them.
When it comes to a paid content model, there are two main challenges. First, the content must offer value to users. Only content creators can address this. The second is to create a simple payment model that is painless for users. Google has experience not only with our e-commerce products; we have successfully built consumer products used by millions around the world. We can use this expertise to help create a successful e-commerce platform for publishers.
Beyond the mechanics of any payment system, users must know the product exists. Discovery and distribution are just as, if not more, important to premium content as they are to free content given the smaller audience of potential subscribers. Google is uniquely positioned to help publishers create a scalable e-commerce system via our Checkout product and also enable users to find this content via search — even if it’s behind a paywall.
The eight page document addresses other features of the proposal which could be of interest to newspapers and publishers alike. You can read the full document below in .pdf.